Digital marketing can play a key role in helping Startups win. In this article, we will look at the top 3 challenges faced by startups around the world and how digital marketing can help overcome these challenges. As an agency, we have worked with many startups from various industries and we know by experience that startups can win using digital marketing.
According to a report released by CEP – Centre for Economic Performance, startups and micro-companies with less than 50 staff members are the key drivers of global economic growth. In the US, 95% of companies fall under this category and in countries like Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Hungary, Finland and Netherlands, 80% of companies fall under this category (and they employ less than 10 people). So as a startup and ‘small’ business, the impact you have on global economy is ‘bigger’ than you think.
Startups like you not only help the economy grow, but also drive innovation across industries globally. To give you a sample of how startups are disrupting industries and leading innovation: IOT (Internet of Things) which is one the major industries of the future is being dominated by startups, in spite of challenges like high capital requirements, specialised skills, etc. In a recent report, Gartner predicted that by 2017, 50% of IOT (Internet of Things) solutions and innovations will originate from startups. So, the more startups like you win, the better it is for the global economy. And digital marketing can be your winning strategy.
How startups like you can win using Digital Marketing
Here is a list of top 3 challenges faced by startups around the world. Let us see how digital marketing can be the one solution to each of these challenges.
Challenge 1: Budget constraints that affect your marketing efforts
‘Money’ and ‘Capital’ are probably the 2 most important words in a startup company (ok, maybe the word ‘purpose’ precedes these) and startups are always looking for ways to reduce costs, limit spending and keep finances under control, etc., which are all smart things to do.
But being conscious of cost and budgets invariably leads to prioritisation of investments in innovation, product development and IT while ignoring key aspects like marketing and sales, which seem like high-cost activities. Most startup entrepreneurs like to focus more on product development than on marketing and sales. It is true that without a good product there is nothing to market. But totally ignoring marketing for a long time is also not a good idea. At a certain phase in your startup lifecycle, you should start doing preparatory work for investing in and ramping up your marketing efforts. If not, you run the risk of having a great product or service that does not generate revenues, simply because your potential customer does not know about it. Not having enough sales and revenue will eventually start putting pressure on the system.
The Solution: Digital Marketing.
With its low-cost structure, great measurability, shorter learning curve and ease of execution, digital marketing is the ideal choice for startups. You can keep the cost low and at the same time ensure that your target audience are aware of your products and services, with minimal effort in digital marketing. When executed right, digital marketing can be more than enough, in the initial stages, to take care of your message amplification and online brand building needs. As you grow, you can increase your efforts in the digital space by investing more or even augmenting the effort by investing in traditional marketing, if that is relevant. So even with a minimal budget, start planning to roll out your digital marketing effort as early as possible.
Challenge 2: Lack of right talent in your team
Next to capital, the 2nd biggest challenge for any startup is the need for the right human resource – the need to build the right team with the right skills and talents.
Most startups are in a garage setup with minimal facilities and cannot afford to offer a high level of compensation to employees. So startups do not even take any major steps for recruiting, thinking that high performers and well-qualified candidates in the market would only prefer companies with better infrastructure, perks and facilities. But that is not true. A study by Forbes revealed that the primary reason candidates chose to work for a company was not infrastructure or even money! Factors like sense of purpose, working in a challenging environment, alignment with personal goals, transparency, great team, clarity about future opportunities and a good work culture were considered more important by high performers than just money and a nice corner cabin. You may be a startup that has all the above elements, but how do you convey that to a potential candidate out there and get them to join your winning team in the early stages?
The answer: Digital Marketing.
Digital marketing can be a powerful recruitment tool. If you spend time preparing your website, mobile presence and social media presence (which does not cost much) to showcase your culture as a startup with transparency and openness, then there is no reason why you will not attract the right talent for your startup dream team. If you are honest enough to admit your limitations as a startup while promising a great work environment and communicating future opportunities and growth potential clearly, then even high performing candidates might choose to take the risk of joining your startup. So go ahead and use digital marketing for recruiting.
Challenge 3: Brand Building is too expensive
Brand building is important for any company, more so for a startup. Building your brand can help you in many ways: it can help you gain credibility, open doors of opportunity, get investors, vendors, employees and customers. As a startup, you want your name to be known in the market. You want your clients to recognise your brand when they see it. But until a few years ago, brand building was an expensive affair which needed advertisements, endorsements and big-budget media campaigns. But not anymore.
Enter Digital Marketing.
Using digital marketing techniques, you can build your online brand by creating strong online presence on the web, mobile and social media. Simple things like having a website that showcases your capability, a blog that showcases your expertise in the subject and a social media presence that helps you engage with your audience can help in online brand building. Once you start growing, you can get the help of a digital agency like us, who can help you build your brand online by running specific campaigns with a targeted audience. As a startup, it is also a good idea to build your own personal brand (as a co-founder or CEO) and use your personal brand as a launching pad to build your company’s brand.
Hope these tips help you win. Let us know if you have any other thoughts, comments or experiences in using digital marketing as a startup.
All the very best!